African All Stars

Algeria’s Mahrez is the best Manchester City have in attacking area - Guardiola

08:56 SAST 2022/03/02
Riyad Mahrez of Manchester City and Algeria.
The 51-year-old tactician sings the praises of the winger after he scored yet again to help the Citizens reach the last eight of the domestic cup

Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola has openly claimed winger Riyad Mahrez is the best player in his area after helping the team to beat Peterborough United 2-0 and advance to the quarter-finals of the FA Cup on Tuesday night.

After a 0-0 scoreline in the first half of the fifth-round contest at Weston Homes Stadium, it was the 31-year-old Algeria international, who produced a moment of magic to fire past keeper Steven Benda and break the deadlock in the 60th minute.

Seven minutes later, Phil Foden set up midfielder Jack Grealish with a looping ball, before the latter controlled it and slotted past Benda. The performance of Mahrez, who is enjoying his best goalscoring season ever, has caught the attention of the Spanish coach.

“We are in the next round and in the end, the quality of our players made the difference,” Guardiola said as quoted by the club’s official website. “They were brilliant goals. The quality of Riyad [Mahrez] and the second goal, the same. It was good.

“We created chances. All of them were brilliant. Riyad always had this quality in the final third - he is the best we have in that area. He scored a fantastic goal. I am so proud of the game he played.”

In a separate interview with ITV as reported by BBC Sport, Guardiola said: “He [Mahrez] is playing in a position he has played in his entire career. We know the quality he has. I am proud the most because he loves to play football.

“For him, football is not a profession, it’s a joy.”

Guardiola also took his time to praise the cross from Foden that set up Grealish's goal.

“The pass from Phil [for the Grealish goal] was excellent - the control was excellent from Jack,” Guardiola continued. “He was aggressive in the final third and is back from injury and played a really good level.”

The win kept alive Man City’s bid to clinch a treble this season, as they are currently topping the Premier League table and are still in the Champions League campaign.

Mahrez has so far scored 19 goals in all competitions, eight of those coming in the top-flight after making 20 appearances and raking in 1027 minutes of play. He has also managed seven assists.

He will hope to continue with his goalscoring form when Man City host rivals Manchester United in the derby at Etihad Stadium on Sunday.